Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10: Fake News

We have to face it. Trump and his vicious band of billionaires are not the result of a freak election. This has been coming for a long time. This is a government that could not care less about the needs of the American people. It is a government of   pure self-interest and greed.

And there is no opposition to it.  The Democrats are essentially the same party with the same 'values'. There is no movement of any significance outside the old parties. At most we  have those who voted for Trump - all those people who voted for slogans that had no meaning. Make American great again? What does that mean? Destroy even more democracies? Plunder more countries for the American wealthy? Kill more people?

All that exists is greed and self-interest. There never was a whole lot of anything else. Now there is nothing else at all. Nor is it going to change. The North American news media are not going to suddenly become honest. The American government is not going to focus on the needs of the American people. Nor does it matter. The most the American people will wake up to is what we saw in the election, a people who are angry but who have no sense of what should be done about - and who accept slogans as if they meant something.

This is not the collapse of a party. This is the collapse of a nation.
So what can the rest of us do?

Some are already doing it. They are shifting their ties away from the U.S. and toward other powers. Others are looking to regional alliances.
And what will Canada do? I recognize the mostrous task of shifting our focus away from the U.S. But I also recognize the disaster in remaining attached to it. We've just gone through a similar switch.

In 1900, Canada was very much the servant of Britain. It was understood that we fought Britain's wars, that we took Britain's side in international matters.  That was underlined with the Boer War. It ended abruptly in 1945. We became the servants of the U.S. because that's where the power was. Britain was a back number.

And that is the kind of decision we have to take now. Will it be difficult? Oh. yes. Is there a choice? Sort of. We shall seek out new alliances - or we shall go down with the U.S.

It's not just Trump. The social and moral decline of the U.S. was happening before him. He has just made it obvious.
Here's a news story whose headline says one thing while the story suggests something quite different.

I would not be surprised if Russia interfered in the election. - but that it would  be enough to decide the outcome sounds more than a stretch. (And Americans are scarcely virgins when it comes to interfering with elections.) In any case, the evidence in this report is, to say the least, pretty thin. This whole announcement looks very much like what has come to be called false news - and it now accounts  for much of the news we get.
The rich get richer by making the poor poorer. Of course. it's an old story. The wealth of the western world was - and is - built on impoverishing, looting and poisoning Africa, Latin America and, until recently, much of Asia. Here's a sample from Africa.
Our news media were mostly hot on Castro's death as a sign of how much Cuban hated him. That's why they focussed so much on the Cubans of Florida - rarely mentioning that they were the supporters of the brutal Batista, the dictator supported by the U.S. (In fact, the existence of Batista was rarely mentioned at all.)

Here'a more accurate account of how Cubans feel about Castro.
In this age of false news, it seems increasingly clear that the CIA statement that Russia interfered in the U.S. election is a classic piece of false news. This feeling was also clear in Guardian statement - though you had to read all of that one to get the story.( The irving press didn't even have the story. I guess it's cheaper that way.)
Gee, our news media buying their news from organizations funded by Syrian rebels (ISIS, etc.) Actually, it's been going on for a long time. One of those organizations is White Helmets,  the group that put out a staged photo of a Syrian child after a bombing attack in Alleppo. The photo was a sensation in the world press - and a fake. They also print stories regularly from 'The Syrian Human Rights Observatory', a rebel organization founded by a haberdasher in England. (White Helmets. essentially a propaganda group, easily makes its way through the western news media. It's a world of fake news.
In a world of violence, greed,  cruelty, the Christian churches have preferred to babble about anything by violence, greed and cruelty. If you are, for example, a wealthy person who makes his money out of cheap labour, you can relax at the Irving Chapel, knowing you wil hear nothing offense.
For a sample of the blah! of our churches, read the Faith Page of the irving press any Saturday.

But there are signs of life.
This is something we should all have known for some time. But I guess a reminder is always useful.
Much of the news is taken up with the terrible things Trump is likely to do. I'm sure he is. But that's not the whole news. There's much we aren't getting.
For example, we aren't told that most of the news we get from Syria comes from jihadist sources. The Jihadists realize quite well that western reporters are on their side. So they will publicize fake photos of a bombed out child. They will believe all stories about Russian cruelties. (I don't know when I've seen so many stories about the horrors of bombing civilians. Where were all those reporters when the U.S. bombing killed almost one-third of the population of North Korea? Where was it at the horror of the bombing of Fallujah by the the U.S?
Why do reporters not seem to be going to the scenes of drone attacks?

Much of our news in the 'free' world comes with a heavy bias. That shows in who's version     they prefer to print, what incidents they prefer to ignore, what stories they buy from fake news agencies  (like Syrian Observatory of human rights),  and it's polished from there in the loaded language of media writers.
Most of the news we get is either from dubious sources, or presented in a prejudicial way, or outright lies - pure invention. That's true of even the most distinguished of the private media - like New York Times.

News analysis is even worse. (The irving press doesn't have it -with a few exceptions. But, for the most part,  the 'analysis' is propaganda or bedtime stories.) The news media are also full of 'analysts' who simply rant and peddle hatred. There's an audience for that.

And the emphasis on Trump is wild. While an important one, he is not the only important leader in the world. And, in fact, we are getting almost nothing on the rest of the world. I listened to one pro-Trump analysit that Trump will save the world by seeking peace with Russia.

Well, that would be nice. But think hard. Russia, like the U.S., is dominated by capitalism.  I don't see where a merger between capitalists is going to do the rest of us any good.

We're living through a system that is a disaster in its itself. It will, of course, destroy itself. But if we wait that long, I don't think we'll get a second chance.
And, I'm late for the ballet. So I won't proofread this one. Enjoy the typos. They're free.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Dec. 9: Donald Trump - Hero!

And liar.

Donald Trump saved a 1100 jobs that were about to be moved by Carrier from Indianapolis and out of the U.S. And he's not even president yet. Isn't that wonderful?

Actually, it's not.

He announced to eleven hundred workers he had saved their jobs. In fact, he saved only 550. The other  550 will find that out the day they get their final pay cheques. And that's not all that's wrong with this deal.

Their employer will get a great tax break and other goodies out of this. And who will have to carry an extra tax load to make up for that? Not the Trumps of this world who don't pay any taxes. No.  All the people of Indiana. That's one hell of an expensive way to save jobs. If this is to become his standard method of dealing with unemployment and underemployment, there won't be a U.S. left to save.

What he has done makes no economic sense at all. Think of it. If the U.S. is to save jobs, it has to throw money at employers in order to get them to stay. And that money can come only from -    American tax payers.

But it's good show biz. It shows the president elect as a man of decision and action. Yes. Never mind that his decision and action are hopelessly destructive to the American economy. Lots people - suckers - will see Trump as the man of action, the one who will make America great again.

Oh course, he can't do that many more times without destroying the American economy altogether. But not to worry. All he has to do is to keep himself in the news doing things that seem like action. He probably won't have to look again as though he's saving jobs. So then he can do other brief but spectacular things. Change the jugglers. Change the lights. But keep the -show moving, always moving.

How come that an advanced nation produces voters who fall for this? Much of the reason is they cannot see any alternatives. They're smothered under heaps of the propaganda that they like to call American values, all of it reinforced with lying news media, and with myths spread by TV and film and history about the  goodness and world leadship and generosity that Americans, unlike all other people in this world, share as common values.

In this picture, freedom is easily contorted to mean power for the very wealthy, to mean greed. And murdering other nations and stealing their resources comes to be thought of as spreading American values. It isn't new. Most empires have been like that. The British kidded themselves they were doing good when they plundered China and india and South Africa.

Remember Rule Britannia. Britannia rules the waves?. For Britons, never, never, never shall be slaves. That nicely sums up the reasoning for the British Empire. Now, think hard. Who, in the last 500 years has tried to make Britons slaves?    Africans? Native peoples of the Americas? China? India? Dutch farmers in South Africa------? Did Iraqis try to enslave them?

Americans are not allowed to think of any other way to run a country. That would be unAmerican. Trump's job, like that of most U.S. presidents,  is to make sure they stay in la-la land. So watch for more spectacular (and worthless) gestures.
These are more pictures of lakes that are disappearing because of the climate change that oil bosses tell us isn't happening.
Here's opinion by a quite remarkable man. And it's something you're most unlikely to see in a North American newspaper.
When economic times get tough, nail the poor. That has been the capitalist response to every recession or depression I have ever heard of. It sticks out like a sore thumb in the Canada of the  1930s. Brazil today is suffering terrible economic times. It's goverment is - to say the least - capitalist and strongly supported by the U.S.

And look at where that has taken this miserable country.
And, amazingly, I don't think t his story  made the irving press here in New Brunswick.

Actually, let's  not play a game with this. Both Liberals and Conservatives in Canada have ALWAYS played the game of setting up friendly chats for the wealthy, chats that have a payoff for both sides. Funny how it never makes the news. The greatest weakness of our political system is the cost of getting elected. And neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have ever shown much interest in changing that.

I know what the irving press could do. It could run a list of bagmen for Canada. Who, for example, in New Brunswick is the one who chats with the newspaper owner and makes deals?
Here is a story I've not seen told in full in any private news  medium in North America - the Sioux protest at Standing Rock, and the extraordinary brutality of legal officers who faced them. This story is almost certainly not over. Expect Trump to make things even worse than Obama did in his handling of it.
And here's an item you won't find, ever, in the irving press.
We're in serious trouble with Trump. And we would have been with Clinton. There is no real difference between the two except that Trump is a better con-man. And Canada is next door.

What Canada should be doing, at any cost, is to break all ties to the U.S. Unless we do, we are  committed to all the fantasies that the U.S. is committed to. And to all the hells the U.S. is going to suffer.There are countries breaking those ties now, and with more to follow.

(Remember how so many Canadian  (and Americans) said, during the election campaign, that Trump was a self-seeking fraud? He was. He still is. And most of his American  opposition is as greedy and voracious as he is. There is no alternative to what is happening in the U.S. We should want to get as far away from that as possible. Good luck on explaining that to most of our politicians.
Every day there are news stories about deception and worse in the White House. In this one, Trump has appointed a prominent climate change denier to be in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. For Canada to  stay in connection with the U.S. as a part of this U.S. world order is insane.

The tasks that face us in the environmental   area alone are immense. We need major work all over the world - not just on setting targets for change but reorganizing whole nations. But we've yet to lift a finger on it.
I have a friend who, for many years, worked for the Canadian government in  tracking unemployment. He warned me never to believe government figures. Employment is always lower and often much lower than the government says it is. The U.S. is even worse.
Who would have guessed that Syria would have been able to hold out against jihadist wars waged on it by the U.S. But, with Russian help, that has happened.  And the U.S. plans for a monopoly on all power in the middle east are in ashes. Now, it's Russia that has a foothold.

American wars, for all their killing, have been failures for sixty years. No nation has ever had such military power and such failure. There is little love and even less confidence all over the world for the military actions of the U.S. It was fought wars almost non-stop since 1941. In all those years since 1941, nobody has attacked the U.S. But it goes on invading and killing. How long will it take some people to get the message?

This is truly insane. At a minimum, we cannot possibly remain a puppet colony in the American empire.
This should have been obvious to Canadian news a long time ago. But they're not used to telling the truth.

I keep thinking of all the promises of World War 2, promises that we celebrate every Nov. 11. "There'll be love and laughter and peace ever after..."
Not one of those damn promises has been kept. We have delivered our people to fight wars that benefit only billionaires. And we don't even whimper when the billionaires deliberately work at destroying the foundations of our world. In the U.S., they'll now settle down to destroying the few services left to a withering nation. We're seeing the same in Canada, and it will pick up steam.

The U.S., which can afford to kill people by the millions, can't afford health services for its own people. And we're seeing the early days of such a movement in Canada.

Cuba, a tiny nation made poorer by American economic embargoes, and daily faced with the threat of invasion by the U.S. was somehow able to afford a full education for all children who wanted it, and full medicare. And most of that brothel we call news media used the funeral of Castro to denounce a man whose only crime was to free his people from American gangsters, pimps, and exploiting American capitalists.

We have made one hell of a mess. The U.S. has led the way. And Canadian leaders have followed with whimpering and with tongues hanging out.
Our skies are full of pigeons coming home to roost  - climate, greed, exploitation, murder, impoverishment.

And we're trotting in circles like the master's dogs we have always been.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dec. 7: Hot News Flash!

A first for the irving press.

Like many newspapers, section A of the irving press is made up of local news - most of it of no importance whatever - such as minor stories from the court house. Section B moves to national and world news. But the irving press is not just another newspaper. No.

Section A is the usual simple-minded trash. But Section B has one, small story of international news. (back page). That's it. The rest is more local news. And more than  half of it is simply gossip from the court house.  Business break-in lands man in jail. A former employee will be sentenced for stealing from a local Subway shop. The section has six photos of the court house - all of them the same photo. Section B is almost all useless information. But it's cheap news to gather. Notice how almost all of it is done by staff reporters, not by news services.

I  have never seen a newspaper which treats its readers with such utter contempt. I read that that senior editor for the chain  (who just happens to be an irving) has a master's degree in journalism from Harvard. But I don't think Harvard teaches cheap and brainless crap like this.
American big business has wanted control over the China for well over a century. The American invasion of The Phillipines in 1900 and the establishment of an American dictatorship was supposed to be a step in that direction. But it failed then, and it has failed ever since.

In 1941, it seemed the great chance had come again. Britain and the other European powers were too busy in Europe to interfere in Asia. That only problem was that Japan was now raging through China. So the U.S. still needed an excuse for a war with Japan.  It had to appear that Japan was the cause of the war. (The American public has long been averse to wars that kill too many Americans. Vietnam has been a reminder of that. To launch into a war with Japan would have been political suicide.)

So President Roosevelt cut off Japan's oil supply, knowing this would force Japan to declare war on the U.S. And that is what Pearl Harbour was all about.
What has  long puzzled me was how 'it happened' major units of the Pacific fleet, including the aircraft carriers were at sea at the time. Most of the ships left for Japan to bomb were old ones. The other mystery is why so many defensive and communications systems failed.

Then I received this note from a reader.

2,400 Americans died at Pearl Harbour. And there's good reason to believe they died to feed corporate profits.
The lust for the wealth to be taken from the world's largest market has by no means ended. The U.S. is now sending the bulk of its navy to the Pacific. It  has surrounded China with bases, including nuclear weapons. (China has not surrounded the U.S.) That's why there has been so much fuss lately about the limits to Chinese territorial waters. There is every reason to believe the U.S. is now looking for its excuse to go to war with China - perhaps even before Russia.
Such a war could only be nuclear. Among other things, the U.S. public would never accept the butcher's bill for all the Americans who would be killed in a conventional war with China.
I have often mentioned the appalliing record of Canadian mining companies in Latin America. Such stories have never, of course, appeared in the Canadian   (or American) press. However, a monthly news sheet in New Brunswick (nbmediaco-op) is less shy. It reports a study from Osgoode Hall Law School on violence and criminality in 13 Latin American countries where Canadian mining companies are active -  levels of violence are extremely high - including 44 killings in the last two years, with most of the dead being 'troublesome' employees of the Canadian mining companies.

 Trudeau was contacted to take action on this issue. (Good luck on that.)
Last night's TV news featured an interview with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney. This is the only Canadian prime minister ever caught red-handed at accepting 'favours' (big ones)  while in office, and at tryinig to lie his way out of it. He is also the former P.M. who was allowed by Harper to get away with it. For pure sleaze, the only prime ministers who matched him were  (possibly) John A. Macdonald and Sir Charles Tupper.

He assures us that that Trump will be just a wonderful president, and that Trudeau should do whatever Trump tells him to do.  And that, I think, is a decision Trudeau has already made.
The article below appeared with the headline "World leaders attack Russia for bombing Aleppo". That headline is not repeated on the  page that appears here. - but the story carries the same message. This is really a piece of propaganda, and it's bad journalism to treat it as news.

The total number of 'world leaders' in this story is 13 - and it includes a Canada which only the most patriotic would call a world leader. As well, all of these 'world leaders' are all heavily committed to supporting the U.S.

And the U.S......would it ever, ever bomb cities and kill civilians? Hey. So far, it's the world champ. This isn't news of any sort. This is propaganda.
Laughing billionaires is something we'll see a lot of  during the Trump presidency. Indeed, his is slated to be the wealthiest administration in American history. This is the administration that will kill medicare, seriously damage public education, and destroy anything that doesn't make big money for the wealthy.

And this is the one that the poor and the frustrated voted for.

Watch for pressure on Canada to follow suit. Watch for Trudeau to be a good, little servant to the wealthy.

The American election was not just an election. It was a revolution. And that could mean another revolution to come.
This next opinion piece will be disputed. I think there's a great deal of truth in it.
Here is something that should be well-known, but which rarely, if ever, appears in western news media.
This is shorter than usual. I stopped writing early in this one because I found the news media, even the good ones, pretty uninspired today. It's as though there was suddenly a vacuum in the news, and a  vacuum in meaning. In fact, I had sensed this early when I referred to Trump (above) as a revolutionary. But revolutionary isn't the right word.

In thought and action, he's as greedy and vicious and evil as Clinton and her followers - even more so. What's different is the style in which he presents it - highly loaded language, emotional, grandiose - but with no sense of policy or meaning.

He's not revolutionary in what he would do. He will abandon all those working class and impoverished Americans who voted for him. He will make up for that with an emotional style and preying on myths and hatreds and fears - rather like Hitler.

His administration is shaping up as the richest and most reactionary in American history. Watch for a massive attack on public education, public health care, and public services in general. Watch for pressure on other countries (like Canada) to do the same. Watch for Trudeau to cave in.

And ask yourself why he has been making nice to Putin. How does that fit in to any policy Trump spoke on? Why is Trump doing this?

Think of the jewel in the crown that has evaded American  billionaires for well over a hundred years. Think of the reason why the major American naval base, Pearl Harbour, was built out in the Pacific so far from the U.S.

Think China - the largest market in the world, the pot of gold.

And, oh, I hope I'm in a better mood on Friday.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dec. 5: The most contemptible, lying..........

.... piece of journalism I have ever seen. This story is so contemptible, I have put it in its own box. Look below for the THE STINKER in capital letters.

But first, we go to the lower headline. page one of the irving press.

"Remown Moncton artist, Joe Collins, celebrated"

Think about that. This newpapers has more, far more, proofreading errors than I have ever seen. In a real newspaper, such an error is not only rare  - it's never found in a headline.
Above that , in a red band across the top of the page, is the paper's slogan "Up-to-the minute breaking news every day." That's just brainless. How can news be up-to-the minute when the paper goes into print hours before we see it?

Then there's a whole page on how some people like to cut down their own Christmas trees. Wow!

The editorial cartoon on government over-spending is typical of the irving press. It hints that the people of New Brunswick are responsible for government debt. Well, of course.  It couldn't be the enthusiasm of the wealthy for grabbing favours from us or their habit of hiding taxable income.

We know that the very wealthy all over the world are avoiding taxes with tax havens. There's no guesswork in this.We know that many billions every year in Canada are robbed from us in that way. So where is the journalistic probing? Where is the demand for goverments to investigate this? No. Instead we get half-wit cartooons.
                                                 THE STINKER
World news is four, lousy pages of trivia. And not one story comes from outside North America. The biggest story is a propaganda piece to kiss up to the Cuba 'exiles'. It quotes their belief that Cuba might now return to democracy???????

Oh, really? Have they forgotten that the Cuba those they happily lived in before Castro was NOT a democracy? In fact, it was one of the cruelest dictatorship in the world. And the 'Cuban exiles' just loved it because most of them worked for it. They were the torturers, killers, pimps for Bastista.  Under the dictatorship, Cubans were randomly murdered, tortured, a dictator approved of by God Bless America. Worse, the 'exiles' are quoted as though they represent all of the Cuban people.

The story quotes a man  (who wasn't at the funeral or in Cuba at all) as saying the people only pretend to be sad because they were forced to.  It says the exiles fled Cuba because they were persecuted. Oh. So how come all those others didn't flee. They didn't because, unlike the exiles, they were not members of dictator Batista's torturers and killers. This is an absurd, simple-minded, and lying story. Whatever possessed a news editor to select this?

The United States is the world's biggest operator of dictatorships, perhaps the biggest in history. A newspaper that runs a story like this treats us readers as a pack of morons. And any editor who would run this story is beneath contempt. Even an editor desperate and unprincipled enough to work for Brunswick News must know the story about the Batista dictatorship which the U.S. maintained. I note, too, that it comes from The Associated Press which has a long history of lying journalism.
Oh, and Norbert has yet another rant about  our schools and our low rate of literacy. Norbert, you have not the faintest idea what you are talking about.
A hundred years ago, teachers had very little training. Indeed, that was often true just fifty years ago. They were cheap; and that was all that counted. And they taught children to read. A hundred  years ago, few children went beyond elementary school in Canada. Few jobs required reading skills. Teachers had little to no training.

And 82% of Canadians could read.

Today, teachers have far more and better training. Students also stay in school much longer. Close your eyes tight,  Norbert, and think hard. Why is New Brunswick's literary rate so low today?

Literacy is very closely related to 1. social class 2. parents' attitides 3. social attitudes in general. Think rea-ea-lly hard. Teachers can have little effect on two of those, and very, very little on the third.

It's not the teachers, Norbert.  It's a province that discourages thought and encourages conformity. it's a province that doesn't like intellectual quesioning. it's a province of fear.

Any guesses about where that comes from, Norbert?  (Hint - try reading your column some day.)
I wish I could believe the following story.

But I can't believe it becase it's not true. Standing Rock is not a victory. it's a defeat. The pipeline has to move a little bit? That's not big deal. It is still being built - and it is still going to pollute somewhere.

More important - it's a pipeline for oil. That means it needs to stay in operation for 30 to     40 years just to pay for itself. And that means that oil companies all over the world are planning to continue their operation at present levels for at least forty years - and certainly more.

We almost certainly don't have forty years. And even if we do, we can't get through them without heavy damage.

As well, the pipeline victory at Standing Rock means encouragement for other pipelines as, for example, Kinder Morgan in Canada. Standing Rock is a victory that will encourage Kinder Morgan and Justin Trudeau (who doesn't need much encouragement.)

We're going to regret this 'victory'.
Here are some pictures of the climate change that isn't happening.
For over a hundred years, the U.S. has wanted control of China. More specifically, wealthy Americans have wanted control of China's economy. That is why they conquered The Phillipines over a century ago. That was why they reacted in the 1930s and 40s when Japan invaded China. That's why China is now surrounded by American ships and bases.

Any action would have to be nuclear. The American people will  not tolerate heavy casualty lists - and the US has not done well in conventional wars since 1945 - even against small countries. No. A war with China would have to be nuclear.
Think I'm critical of the news media?
If there really is any justice remaining in the western world, the three men below should be tried and  hanged.
And here's some  cheery news. Canadian mining companies don't just abuse third-world countries. They also abuse Canadians. They are equal rights abusers. This  item is from Manitoba - but notice the reference to fear of Manitobans  to speak of what is being done to them by their mining companies. Sorta makes ya think of New Brunswick, don't it?
This one sounds extreme. It isn't.
We are living in a world that faces monstrous problems of climate control and  the very expensive problems of resettling whole nations as a result of that. But those in power have no interest whatever in that. Their only interest is self-promotion and piling up wealth beyond any capacity to spend it. The share of the rich in all of the world's wealth has increased by 20% just in recent years. And there is no end to that increase.

Inevitably this is going t lead to severe suffering, violence - and those with results no-one can forecast.

The only thing we can be sure of is that wealthy will continue to be guided enirely by greed. And that will continue even as their own greed works against them.

We cannot deal with our problems in a world of such separate nations. We cannot possibly afford the inevitable wars. Our spending on weapons would mean more life for hundreds of millions. And there is not the slightest chance the wealthy would allow money to be so wasted. They give money only in small doses - and only if the Chamber of Commerce will honour them for their sacrifice.
We cannot maintain democracy. Indeed, it has largely disappeared. The U.S., for example, spies on its whole population, murders around the world, imprisons American with no charges or trial, uses millitarized police to beat down anybody who complains.....

All of this is fuelled by greed. In many countries, as in the U.S., it is the wealthy who actually sit in most positions of political power. And they do it only for themselves.

These problems all come to a head within a decade or so.  That's not a wish. That's a reality.

The major weapon  of the very rich is the news media they own, and that keep us in ignorance. And the irving press is a prime example of that.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dec 3: They said it! The U.S. runs dictatorships for mass murder

On it's faith page, the irving press has the big story that it and other North American news media have never carried. It's the story of the indiscriminate murder of 300,000 men, women, and children carried out by the Guatemalan army with U.S. support - the latter coming from from the killers of special ops - from 1960 to 1996. Guatemala was (and still is) a U.S. sponsored dictatorship.

Actually, the story (on the Faith Page) doesn't say most of the above. It doesn't mention the U.S., for example. It's just a short statement that an American priest killed in that war has been named a martyr.

There is no mention of New Brunswicker Raoul Leger who was also murdered in that war, and lies buried in Bouctouche. That's probably because nobody at irving press ever heard of Paul Leger or of the war. Anyway, the irving press doesn't publish stories that might make people think.
The news media talk of dictatorships and democracies as though these are quite different from each other. That explains almost all the reaction to the death of Fidel Castro. Democracy, we are told, is the voice of the people. Dictatorship is rule by a cruel person. In fact, it doesn't always work that way.

Scholars have shown long ago that so-called democracries are frequently dictatorships controlled by a small elite. In the U.S., for example, national leaders have long been chosen from a small group of the wealthy. The become presidents, cabinet ministers, secretaries of state. They commonly come from related families, went to the same same schools, sit on the same business boards - and they go on generation after generation.

Oh, and they look after each other.

It happens in the U.S. which, as a write this, is appointing the richest and most closely connected families in history to all the jobs in goverment.

In Quebec, almost all premiers have come from a small group of private schools for the elite.

In Canada, the prime minister is the son of a prime minister (and also a product of a most desirable public school). His closest partner is an m.p. whose father was a close political friends of Trudeau's father.

This isn't democracy. We've had seventy years of intense, academic study of this phenomenon that proves it's not democracy.

"Think tanks'', by the way   (like The Fraser Institute beloved by the irving press and the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies) and the privately-owned news media are all a part of this 'deep' government which has long ago destroyed democracy.
These 'agents of democracy" are the same ones who establish and maintain most dictatorships. And if their children aren't very bright? No problem. A gift of a million or so dollars will get any retarded son of the rich into a Harvard graduate school. (Even George Bush could do it though  his grades were way below acceptable levels.)
And here's a story  from The Guardian that must be a lie. It's about Canadian opposition to Trudeau's approval of the kinder morgan pipeline. But it if were true, it would have made our very own irving press. Obviously, The Guardian has this one wrong. Fer shoor. Fer shoor. Or, well, maybe our irving press is lying.
There's lots of news on Standing Rock everywhere except in the irving press.

It was unwise for Trump to begin on this issue with a declaration of war. And unwise of Trudeau to associate himself with Trumpism in Canada's similar confrontation. This has the potential to return us to the equivalent of the turbulent labour wars of the 1920s - and to do so on an unwise, deeply divisive issue in both Canada and the U.S.

But let's not blame just the politicians. It's damned unwise of the  oil industry to have created this confrontation.
There's a fresh story that I don't yet have enought information on - It's quite true. I just don't have enough details. Canada has been using its international development fund, intended to develop needy countries, to give large grants to Canadian mining companies - notably in South America.  Other 'charitable' programmes are also involved.

Given the record of the Canadian mining industry for impoverishing and exploiting others, and enriching only itself, this move puts Trudeau into some pretty bad company. (But don't his suits look nice?)

Trudeau has also refused to take part in an international movement to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons. And guess who that's kissing up to? We're seeing a clear pattern in Trudeau's moves.
Trump's secretary of defence is to be General Mattis. He was in charge for much of the Iraq war, a war that set records for the massacre of civilians. I remember the day that Iraq civilians captured four 'contractors' in the village of Fallujah. In the U.S. military, contractors are hired killers, mercenaries. They are particularly noted for rape, theft, murder of civilians, all forms of terror. So someobdy killed them.

General Mattis responded with what was clearly meant as a revenge assault on the whole village that killed some  700. Most of the dead were civilians. The very land the village stood on was poisoned forever by a bombardment with depleted uranium shells.
Advice for the area I live in - New Brunswick. With the exception of the CBC, the news media in this province are dreadful.  it's not that they're skilful in manipulating opinion.   In fact, they have no skill of any sort. Their style is pure trivia. And their choice of what is newsworthy is purely random. These are media that don't manipulate people. They simply keep them in an eternal stupor.
And this policy does not happen by accident. It is obviously imposed by the ownership. What's important is not what appears in these media. What's important is what is not allowed to appear. Are the wealthy paying their share? How much of our tax money do we hand over to people who don't seem to pay any taxes on their own? Is there a policy of attacking government services to create a demand for privatizing them? (You bet there is.)

We vote either Liberal or Conservative - both of which are the same party. Both of which are heavy with lawyers on the make. And the NDP?

I was active in it when it was the CCF, and went through the long fight against those who wanted to  make it into the NDP. The move seemed to be necessary to raise money to fight elections.   The expectation was that this money would then come from the unions. But, in return, the unions wanted a wimpier party. And that wimpier party is what happened.

It is now a party so flabby in its purpose that it is little different from the Liberals and Conservatives. The Green party remains truer to its purpose but it, too, seems not to realize that it has to get tough to save the environment. It's not going to be done with smiles and kisses. Any party that hopes to make a change has to be ready for one hell of a tough fight to get the wealthy of this province under control. We have to get ready to play hardball.

Instead, we   got a column from Norbert Cunningham suggesting the NDP should join forces with the Conservatives. And I think that, under its current leadership, it would happily do that.

There is no future in a New Brunswick as it is. Changing it means getting clear on who your enemies are. It means preparing for a very difficult fight in beating them. It means New Brunswickers have to develop a bit of courage.
Lacking that, the only thing that makes sense is to move.

Oh, for those who think it's important to maintain capitalism, forget it. Capitalism died a long time ago. The towering greed and corruption and manipulation and tax evasion that we now see has nothing to do with capitalism.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dec.2: The world on the edge.

The standoff between protesters and police (and the military) at Standing Rock is front page news in many papers. That's especially true as severe winter weather closes in, and as hundreds of American war veterans join in to support the protesters against police violence. But it didn't make the irving press. No. In its world news section, the big news in the irving press was about how we won't learn what the salaries of local doctors are until next year - maybe. Gee. And I was counting on learning that.

There's nothing even on the big news about the death of Fidel Castro. North American news media have been going wild with their fury about that terrible, terrible dictator. But no news medium I have seen has the whole story on dictatorships in Latin America.

There are at least 15 dictatorships in Latin America. Fourteen of them were created by the freedom-loving leaders of the United States with the enthusiastic support of corporations in the U.S. - and of Canada. Yes, and of the government of Canada. Yes. When it comes to cruel dictators, we just love them.

In most cases, mining companies have been prominent, along with United Fruit Company which owns much of the continent's farmland.  (United Fruit is those nice people who bring you Dole pineapples.)

Castro's dictatorship was marked by poverty, it's true. But that's because the U.S. had blockaded most of its trade, and kept Cuba under constant threat. But Castro still managed to create one of the best education systems and one of the best medical systems in the world.

The American/Canadian dictators in Latin America brought  deeper poverty, humiliation, environmental destruction and mass murder. They murdered over 300,000 in Guatemala, making particular targets out of missionaries, nuns..... (But New Brunswickers can go to see the grave of one of their victims, a lay missionary named Raoul Leger of Bouctouche, New Brunswick.  The grave is not far from the Irving chapel,   so one can be sure it's certified holy ground.)

There is an excellent book on Canadian involvement in the dictatorial horror  inflicted on Latin America - and Africa and Asia.  It's by Todd Gord and Jeffrey R. Webber (Fernwood Press) 'The Blood of Extraction; Canadian imperialism in Latin America'.

And every Canadian government has been involved up to its ears in this. And Canadian mining companies. And, yes, the big buyers of those bonds know exactly what's happening.

The editorial cartoon is an obvious type. It shows New Brunswick going over a waterfall with its government spending. Very courageous. But it would be a lot more courageous (and honest) if the cartoon were about WHY the spending is going over a waterfall. How much of that is due to favours and gifts for big business in this province? How much is due to the very wealthy dodging taxes with tax havens?

Our business leaders are equal opportunity thugs. They are quite as happy to bleed us as they are the people of Honduras and Guatemala and el Salvador....
The most alarming story in today's paper is one from Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dion,  that Canada and the U.S. have to work together to face the "Russian challenge".

What Russian challenge?

Russia is not setting up nuclear missiles on the US/Canada border.  Russia does not have fleets patrolling the edges of Canadian and American waters. The only challenge going on is that the US is challenging Russia.

Of course, this is the old game of using Canada as bumboy. The last time was when Canada sent troops to die in South Africa so that British businessmen could steal that country's gold. Bend over and do your own kissing, Mr. Dion.
This is something to watch. The U.S. has been quite keen to invite us into its imperial wars, and the last, several p.m.s have been only too eager to comply.
This opinion piece, by Stephen Hawkings, is important. The presentation is a little weak and vague - but for anyone who takes the time to think about it, it tells us that we are well into an age in which the self-seeking interests of capitalism are going to be extremely damaging to us - as well as to capitalism itself.   (So don't expect this one to make the pages of the irving press.)
When economic times get tough, it is a standard practice for capitalist governments to make the poor suffer while the rich get a free ride. That's what the great depression of the 1930s in Canada was all about.

A   good book on the depression in Canada is by Linda Grayson and Michael Bliss (and by prime minister RB Bennett, who was prime minister through much of the depression). Bennett, a New Brunswicker  often caricatured as the ulitmate, uncaring capitalist, was really a far better man than he gets credit for.
The world is watching standing rock. But the people of New Brunswick aren't - and won't be watching it if irving press has any say in the matter.
So far, it's also shaping up to ignore the pipeline protests in Canada.
Here's a story that's important - which is why we're not likely to see it in the irving press. Donald Trump's choice to look after medicare is a man determined to destroy it. Of course, the irving press won't mention this. If it did, readers would shake their heads and ask. "Isn't this what recent New Brunswick governments want to do?"
Here is a defence of Castro's rule in Cuba - and quite a good defence. For Norbert Cunningham, compare the rate of literacy in Cuba to that in New Brunswick. In Cuba, it's 100%. Does that make you think, Norbert? (New Brunswick has one of the lowest literacy rates in Canada.)

Oh, of course Norbert isn't going to think. If he did, he'd lose his job.

It's in human nature to make simplistic decisions and judgements.  So Dictatorship is bad. Democracy is good.

In reality, I don't see a whole lot of good coming out of our 'democratic' societies.  In fact, I don't even see what's good in a U.S. or a Canadian democracy which puts real power and privilege into the hands of the very wealthy. Nor do I see bad in a Cuban dictatorship which educates its children and cares for its sick.

Yes, some dictatorships can be quite terrible. I think here of all those dictatorships supported by Canada and the U.S.  But, obviously, Cuba is not in that category.
Here's a  very small piece of a very big story. This is the only journalist to admit to it - but it is common practice for  private journalists to plant false stories.
Bush and Blair murdered one and a half million people in Iraq. They did it based on charges that they knew were not true. They lied to parliament, to congress, and to their own people. A British parliamentary enquiry has already come to that conclusion. And, in fact, the truth was known almost from the start. (This, by the way, was done by the leaders of two of those nice democracies which are so very superior to dictatorships.)

Now, there will be an enquiry in the U.S. to focus on Bush. He'll be found guilty. That's a slam dunk. But nothing will happen to him in the democratic U.S.
More about the lying press.

Of course, not all news media lie. For example, today's irving press says we had a power failure  two nights ago. And we did. I saw it. Always trust the Truthful Times and Transcript of new Brunswick.
And let's not kid ourselves that Canadian politics are different from American politics.
The U.S. senate (unnoticed by the irving press) has passed a bill making it illegal to criticize Jews or Israel. (It calls such criticism anti-semitic. Evidently, the U.S. senate doesn't know that most arabs are semites. And it doesn't know that European Jews are not semites.)

This bill means it is racist now to criticize anything  Jews do. But that is not what racist means. Lots of Jews criticize other Jews and Israel. They aren't racist. They're disagreeing - and disagreement is not racism.
Standing Rock is, quite likely, not just another protest to be dismissed. It may well turn out to be a major rising against all that has gone wrong with the U.S. (and with Canada, but not noticed here.)

Standing Rock is developing into a protest not just about a pipeline.  It's also about the general subservience to big money that is constantly shown by government. It's about the fundamental neglect of the needs of the American people. It's about the growth of poverty, The constant and abrasive presence of greed.

Trump  opened the gates to this with his leadership campaign that sought out the angry. But that anger is taking on a sharper focus. And it will get sharper still as Trump fails to deliver on the growing realization that the anger is about social issues - not about Trump's racism.

And, now as "pipeline" Trudeau blows away confidence that many people had in him, we may see similar reactions in Canada.
Don't pay any attention to this story about climate change in the Arctic. I'm sure that if there were any problem, the irving press would tell us.

And trust western political leadership to make sure there is no threat.

I wonder how much New Brunswick has spent to encourage fossil fuel consumption. I wonder if that might explain some of our provincial overspending.
In electing little boy George Bush, the American people created a chaos in a middle east that had been relatively quiet. Iraq, torn apart by local squabbles is unlikely to know peace again for a very long long. The same is true of Libya and Syria.The Kurds have become a major problem that our news rarely mentions. Mixed up in all of this, and overlapping it, is a Turkey  that has emerged as yet another source of violence and uncertainty in the region.

Closer to home is the growing realization that we face a threat - and it may not be the usual enemies. It may be our own leaders both political and economic.

Trump's election methods triggered an explosion of anger by Americans. But this isn't the end of it. We are going to see more anger as it sinks in that the people to be angry at may not be the ones fingered by Trump.

And that could well provoke a parallel movement in Canada.

At the same time we face enormous and urgent problems that our ruling classes don't care about. They are programmed to understand only the making of money. A climate breakdown is happening. It needs action - now. We aren't getting it Nor are we going to so long as the greedy have power.

We are facing a crisis in wealth distribution as the already wealthy increase their's while our share lessens.

Related to that, we are facing a crisis in employment as automation replaces people in the world place. But how to deal with that is barely even at the discussion stage.

We have urgent matters in many areas to deal with. But we are governed, for the most part, by politicians who do nothing about them because they are servants of those who understand only profits. We are now at the stage of protest. The response, as always and as at Standing Rock, is violence by the state to please the wealthy.  We're also going to see continuing violence in spying, criminalizing dissent......

....and in the end it won't work. We are following a course that can only lead to breakdown, to enormous loss of life, to enormous suffering - and to extinction.
Next time you're at the Irving Chapel, ask the rented preacher to speak on this. With special music.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nov. 30: The self-blessed sinners of America

Big story on the front page of the irving press. Moncton city councillors voted themselves a pay increase of thousands of dollars.  Isn't it honest and brave of the irving press to speak out like t hat? Of course...... would be braver still if it ever spoke out about the much bigger raises billionaires give to themselves without bothering with a vote. But we have no idea how much money the wealthy of this province give themselves. And, though we've known for years about tax havens wear the wealthy can hide their money from taxes, we have yet to see the slightest interest from our press about exactly who those wealthy are, and how much they hide.

If you're starving an homeless, and  you shoplift a chocolate bar, that's a big story in the irving press. But if hide millions or even billions in tax money - not a word.

Next to it is the story about how the auditor general of the province says the provincial government has to cut down on spending. As usual, the auditor general makes no mention of what the human needs of the province are. Just cut the spending. And she certainly doesn't not call for making the rich pay taxes.
That was the standard approach in the great depression of the  1930's, too.  As the poor got poorer and hungrier, and as the rich got richer and didn't pay taxes, the demand was to cut spending on the poor. Gotta balance the budget.

World news? One of the big stories is that Trump's former  campaign manager will be visiting Alberta to give a speech to rich people. Wow!

The only real story in the whole paper is that Justin Trudeau has just approved some nice, new oil pipeliness over the mass objections of people who live along the routes. The approval also means that expanded fossil fuel production will continue for at least the forty years it will take to pay the cost of those pipelines. So forget about dealing with climate change.

And that takes us to a bone-headed commentary on CBC news. it criticizes Trudeau for making a statement of regret for Castro's death. And then praises him for refusing to attend Castro's funeral, saying this shows he has the stuff to be a world leader.

By the writer's logic, one could say that Trudeau should publicly refuse to express regret or to attend the funeral for the death of George Bush. After all, George Bush was one of the great mass murderers of history. Castro did enormous good for the people of Cuba.      Bush did no good at all for anybody except himself.

Castro was a dictator? So is the buddy we cuddle up to to and sell weapons to - the king of Saudi Arabia. - not to mention all the American-controlled dictatorships of Latin America.

Castro is a villain only because our propaganda news media make him a villain.
The writer then says that by refusing to attend Castro's funeral, Trudeau has reformed himself to become worthy of a being a leader in the western world.

1. There is not the slightest chance Trudeau will be a leader of the western world. He will always be what he is now, a puppet for the president of the U.S. (and for oil companies.)

2. And the refusal to attend the funeral of a man who attended his father's funeral just shows him to be gutless.

There is something we have to learn about Trudeau. He is his father's son only in a biological sense. Beyond that, the resemblance ends.

Pierre Trudeau admired Castro for the good he had done. And Pierre Trudeau didn't give a damn  what the U.S. thought about it. Pierre Trudeau was a man of principle.

His son is not. To him, the political life has only one purpose. It has nothing to do with the needs of the people or the nation.  The point of politics, the only point, is to please the powerful and so to win the next election.

He's the irving press' kind of guy.

Incidentally, if it is so terrible that Castro was a dictator, then how come nobody every criticizes the US for having created the dictator he displaced? In fact, very few news accounts mention that Cuba was a dictatorship imposed by the U.S. since before Castro was born. Latin America is full of dictatorships - all of them imposed by the U.S. And, unlike Castro, none of those dictators has ever done a damn thing for  anybody except American billionaires.
Nelson Mandella was one of the great leaders in world history. He admired Castro for his accomplishments. Justin Trudeau (not one of the great leaders in world history) has renounced his admiration for Castro. Case closed.
Justin Trudeau is expanding our use of dirty fuels - just like his good friends in the U.S. oil industry. And I'll bet he'd make it a point to mourn at all of their funerals.
Here's a story about how American 'democracy' can be worse than any dictatorship. It's about Standing Rock in North Dakota - and it's a story that may well be played out near you very soon, Canadian readers, as Trudeau shows he can be as backward as any other western leader.
The U.S. military has a Joint Special Operations Command which it uses to murder people all over the world, including in countries the U.S. is not at war with. The purpose is, generally, to take out anyone who might be opposed to  what American corporations want. Nobody knows who or how many they have killed because the American government won't say, and the American news media don't care.

Isn't it just terrible what that Castro did? I mean - all that money wasted on schools and hospitals?
The U.S. congress has just passed a no-fly resolution for Syria. In effect, this would mean only U.S. planes would be allowed to fly. Now, the U.S. has no right  under international law to fly over Syria. Russia does have a right. So - will the president give the U.S. airforce permision to fly over Syria - and to shoot down Russian planes?

If he does, that means a world war with Russia.
Here's an item I know is true because it has been investigated and condemned in Britain by many inquiries. While prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair lied in order to justify the US/British invasion of Iraq that murdered   one and a  half million people. Subsequently, he became an extremely wealthy man for favours to various middle east thugs like Saudi Arabia. That much is known - but, seemingly - not known to most of the North American news media.

Now, the British are taking a much more serious look at this man who was such a good buddy to Bush.
The Washington Post doesn't like Paul Craig Roberts. It listed  him as one of a huge group of bloggers and independent journalists who conspired with Putin to get Trump elected. I'm familiar with a large number of the sites the Washington Post names. It's charges are absurd. In fact, one of the most lying news services I have come across is The Washington Post. Roberts  (below) didn't take its report very seriously.
One of the most bizarre candidates Trump has pondered for his government team is General Petraeus, a man whose military career has staggered from incompetent,  to pandering, to giving away classified information, to low comedy. It really is quite noticeable how Trump leans to people of this sort.
Here is a new item that doesn't say as much as it should. It's about the (strong) possibility that the people that Trump is apppointing to his government want an all-out American war on Syria. But any such move would be almost certain to provoke a world war. That's the kind of people - whatever Trump may say about his aims -  that Trump is appointing.
Here's a story about the climate change that isn't happening. I haven't seen anything in the irving press to suggest that either the press or the irvings give a damn about it. We know that oil companies hire expensive lobbyists to make sure that people like Trudeau go on building lots and lots of oil pipelines But I'm sure the Irvings of New Brunswick would never, never do that. I mean, these are the people who maintain a family chapel (with special music) just for us. And the Chamber of Commerce speaks very highly of them.
The next item has some truth in it - but it may be too harsh in its treatment of American military leadership. It has been, as the article says, pretty ineffective in the past 16 years. But the reality is that it's been pretty ineffective for the past 70 years.

The American military performance over a tiny North Korea - and with lots of help -  was not brilliant. Vietnam was a disaster. So was Afghanistan, though we're still pretending. Ditto Libya and Iraq and, probably, Syria. But that may not be due to the generals as much as it is to the almost world hatred that the U.S. has created for itself - as well as to the the natural development of military leaders in countries fed up with American aggression, and adjusting themselves to how to fight against a modern enemy.
I attach the following site not because of any particular story in it, but because it looks like one worth following.